Independent review announced for Inland Rail

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Dr Kerry Schott will lead the independent review of the over-the-budget and behind-the-schedule railway plan connecting Melbourne to Brisbane.

The Australian Government has today announced the appointment of Dr Kerry Schott AO to lead an independent review into the Inland Rail project. The review will consider the process for selecting the Inland Rail route, including stakeholder consultation, and assess the project’s scope, schedule and cost. 

It will also assess options for the new Inland Rail intermodal terminals to be built in Melbourne and Brisbane, and for improving rail links to the ports in these cities.

The review will have regard to existing studies, such as the Toowoomba to Gladstone Inland Rail Extension Business Case and is expected to be completed by early 2023. The Government intends to release the findings of the review once it has an opportunity to consider them. The review’s Terms of Reference are set out below.

The Australian Government has today also released the Final Report of the Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies (the Panel) of Inland Rail in Queensland.

The Australian Government welcomes the findings of the Panel and will work with both the Queensland Government and ARTC to implement the Panel’s recommendations. The Final Report can be accessed here

Independent Review into the delivery of Inland Rail 

Terms of Reference

The review will:

A) Assess Australian Rail Track Corporation’s governance and program delivery approaches, including:

  • The effectiveness of current governance arrangements for Inland Rail, including monitoring and reporting
  • Project management arrangements
  • Risk management practices; and
  • Implementation of strategy;

B) Consult with stakeholders across the freight sector to test the Inland Rail service offering and the importance of this to achieve the overall benefits of Inland Rail, including how it provides new capacity and resilience to support Australia’s national supply chain network, having regard to:

  • Urban congestion and future freight demand;
  • Potential endpoints for the Inland Rail Service Offering in Melbourne;
  • Potential endpoints for Inland Rail Service Offering in Brisbane, including Ebenezer, Kagaru, Bromelton, and Acacia Ridge; and
  • Efficient linkages with freight infrastructure such as other freight rail networks, ports and intermodal hubs;

C) Review the processes for selecting the Inland Rail route to confirm it is fit for purpose and has considered both impacts and potential broader economic benefits to regional economies and communities;

D) Having regard to current market constraints and regulatory environment, assess Program scope, schedule and cost, including;

  • A broader review of the infrastructure market;
  • Review Program costs, contingencies and escalation;
  • Review schedule assumptions, including timing for planning and environmental approvals, land acquisitions and contingencies;
  • Options to optimise Program delivery to realise benefits earlier
  • The PPP for the Gowrie to Kagaru projects
  • Any related port connections;
  • Potential intermodal terminals in Brisbane and Melbourne;

E) Assess opportunities for enhancing community benefits along the route;

F) Review ARTC’s engagement and consultation approach, including options to improve engagement with communities and other stakeholders along the route, and develop a pathway to consider community concerns with the alignment.

The review will have regard to existing studies, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Dedicated rail freight connections to ports in Brisbane and Melbourne;
  2. The development of new intermodal terminals in Brisbane and Melbourne;
  3. The extension of Inland Rail from Toowoomba to the Port of Gladstone; and
  4. The South East Queensland Freight Demand Analysis and Modelling Study.

Source: © Commonwealth of Australia 2022

Image Source: © Commonwealth of Australia 2022

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